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Monday, April 27 2009

New General Authorities Called, Primary General Presidency Reorganized

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The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the calling of new members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the Second Quorum of the Seventy and 43 Area Seventies today at the Saturday afternoon session of the Church's 180th Annual General Conference. The First Presidency also announced the reorganization of the Primary General Presidency.

First Quorum of the Seventy

Called as General Authorities to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy are Elder Kevin R. Duncan, Washington, Utah; Elder Gerrit W. Gong, Provo, Utah; Elder Patrick Kearon, Somerset, England and Elder Juan A. Uceda, Clifton, New Jersey.

Second Quorum of the Seventy

Called as General Authorities to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy are Elder Larry R. Lawrence, Clovis, California; Elder Per G. Malm, Göteborg, Sweden and Elder Jairo Mazzagardi, Vinhedo, Brazil.

Members of the Seventy have responsibility for administering the work of the Church throughout the world under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Some of them also have executive responsibilities in a number of Church departments. Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy usually serve to age seventy.

Primary General Presidency

A new Primary General Presidency was also announced. Sister Rosemary M. Wixom was called as the general president of the Primary. Sister Jean A. Stevens and Sister Cheryl A. Esplin will serve as first and second counselors. Sister Cheryl C. Lant, Sister Margaret S. Lifferth and Sister Vicki F. Matsumori were released and received an expression of gratitude for their five years of leadership.

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve (God's) children," said Sister Wixom, in a news conference following the announcement. "There are only two requirements for this calling; to love the Lord, and to love His children."

The newly called leaders served on the General Primary Board at the time of their call. In response to questions from the media, Sister Wixom affirmed their role is to assist what is being taught by parents in the home.

"Our greatest concern is that children know who they are and that they are loved," she said.
 
Biographical Information
First Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Kevin R. Duncan, 49, had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the Utah South Area when called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Duncan received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, a MACC in taxation, and a juris doctorate in law from Brigham Young University in 1991.  He began his career as an associate attorney and later founded a corporation, from which he retired in 2005.

Elder Duncan has served in numerous Church callings including full-time missionary in Chile, bishop's counselor, ward mission leader, ward executive secretary, high councilor, church service missionary as Associate International Legal Counsel in South America, and president of the Chile Santiago North Mission.

Kevin Read Duncan was born in Ogden, Utah on October 6, 1960.  He married Nancy Elizabeth Smart in August, 1986. They are the parents of five children. Elder and Sister Duncan reside in Washington, Utah.

Elder Gerrit W. Gong, 56, had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the Utah South Area when called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Gong received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian and university studies at Brigham Young University in 1977.  In 1979 he received a master of philosophy and in 1981 a PhD in international relations from Oxford University.  In 1985 he served as Special Assistant to Under Secretary of State at the U.S. State Department and then in 1987 served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador in Beijing China.  From 1989 to 2001 he served in many positions for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.  Currently he is the Assistant to the President for Planning and Assessment at Brigham Young University.

Elder Gong has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in Taiwan, high councilor, high priests group leader, stake Sunday School president, bishop's counselor, seminary teacher, bishop, stake mission president and stake president.

Gerrit Walter Gong was born in Redwood City, California on December 23, 1953.  He married Susan Lindsay in January 1980. They are the parents of four children. Elder and Sister Gong reside in Provo, Utah.

Elder Patrick Kearon, 48,had been serving as a member of the Third Quorum of the Seventy in the Europe West Area when called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Kearon was educated in the Middle East and the United Kingdom.  He has lived and worked in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United States in various industries, including health care, food, automotive, and transport.  He currently runs his own communications consultancy.  Civic and community involvement has included service on the boards of a charity, a school, an enterprise agency, and a college.

After joining the Church on Christmas Eve, 1987, Elder Kearon has served in numerous Church callings, including assistant ward clerk, ward Young Men president, bishop's counselor, branch president, and stake president.

Patrick Kearon was born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England on July 18, 1961.  He married Jennifer Carole Hulme in 1991.  They are the parents of four children, one of whom is deceased.  The Kearon family lives in Somerset, England.

Elder Juan A. Uceda, 56, had been serving as counselor to the president of the Caldwell New Jersey Stake when called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Uceda was educated in Peru.  He enrolled at Jose Carlos Mariátegui Institute in Lima where he studied accounting and public relations.  He also studied business administration at the Centro Andino de G.E. Institute.  He is a graduate of San Luis Gonzaga University, where he was awarded a bachelor's degree in public relations. Elder Uceda worked in the Church Educational System as area director for Peru and Bolivia.  He left Peru in 2003 to move to New Jersey to assist his father with their family business.

Since joining the Church in 1972, Elder Uceda has served in numerous callings, including full-time missionary in Peru, stake Sunday School presidency, bishop, high councilor, stake president's counselor, stake president, president of the Lima Peru North Mission, and Area Seventy.

Juan Alberto Uceda Andrade was born in Lima, Peru on July 10, 1953.  He married Maria Isabel Bendezú in March 1979.  They are the parents of five children.  Elder and Sister Uceda reside in Clifton, New Jersey.

Second Quorum of the Seventy

Elder Larry R. Lawrence, 62, had been serving as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in the North America West Area when called to serve in the Second Quorum of the Seventy.

Elder Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural biochemistry from the University of Arizona in 1969.  In 1973, he received a doctorate of medicine also from the University of Arizona, then later completed an ophthalmology residency in Fresno.  He has been an ophthalmologist since 1977.

Since joining the Church in 1970, Elder Lawrence has served in numerous callings, including elders quorum president, bishop, high councilor, stake president's counselor, stake president, stake mission president, and president of the Russia Novosibirsk Mission (2001-2004).

Larry Ray Lawrence was born in Cheverly, Maryland on August 25, 1947.


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